Report: Nuggets find market drying up for huge Carmelo Anthony deal

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Thumbnail image for carmelo_anthony_denver_nuggets.jpgThe Nuggets are asking a lot for Carmelo Anthony in a trade: good young players and draft picks for the future, enough established talent to keep them in the playoffs now, plus cap relief that keeps them below the luxury tax. And a date with Scarlett Johansson. And a DeLorean that can travel through time.

They’re asking too much, and according to Ken Berger of CBS they are finding teams do not want to pay that steep price.

“They’re still banging away at this,” said one of the people with knowledge of the discussions. “But the well has dried up a little bit.”

The four-team deal involving the Bobcats and Jazz, in which New Jersey was sending No. 3 pick Derrick Favors and two first-round picks to Denver, died partly because the Nuggets were intent on trying to squeeze additional assets out of the trade and also because Denver officials were shopping the proposal around in pursuit of a better deal. Additionally, Kirilenko wound up being what one person involved in the process termed “a deal-breaker” due to strong signals that the Russian swingman was not interested in playing in Denver and was cold to the idea of signing an extension there.

Rule number one of trading a star is you don’t get equal value back. If you get some prospects and picks you use, people may say it’s not that bad someday despite the initial reaction (see Pau Gasol trade from Memphis) but in the best of circumstances you lose out.

Denver wants to lose nothing. Which means they could lose everything. What they don’t want to do is call Anthony’s bluff about not singing an extension with the Nuggets and seeing if he’ll risk less money under a new CBA to leave.

Other teams know that. As time marches on, they will offer less and less, thinking that Denver will not have an option but to accept.

Berger goes through a list of deals out there and why they won’t happen — Bulls, Clippers, Pistons, Cavaliers, Sixers, Knicks — but how each might be added as a facilitator in the four-team deal that sends Anthony to New Jersey.

Where he might not even be willing to sign an extension… so it all comes back to Denver and Anthony both sitting down and both giving a little to get something that works for both of them. You know, compromise. The thing they stopped doing in Washington D.C. but that normal adults do every day.

Another LeBron James mural vandalized in Los Angeles

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Most of Los Angeles — and the vast majority of Lakers fans — are fired up that LeBron James is coming to Los Angeles. They see a return to glory for the franchise (well, once they get the rest of the roster right… sorry Lance Stephenson).

However, there is a segment — particularly the die-hard Kobe fans — who are having trouble assimilating to the new reality.

So when an artist did a LeBron James mural near Venice in Los Angeles recently — a really well-done tribute — it was quickly vandalized. Then eventually covered up.

This week another artist did another impressive LeBron/Lakers mural — this one with LeBron looking up at the Lakers’ legends — and once again, it was vandalized.

I’m not shocked by any of this, but it is depressing. If you’re vandalizing art, you are a cowardly buffoon.

There’s no way to really know the motivation behind the second attack, although the smart money is on it being the same as the first one — a few people think they are protecting the Lakers’ brand by not welcoming the best player on the planet to a team that hasn’t made the playoffs in five years. It’s incredibly flawed logic, but frankly flawed logic has become trendy in recent years, it can get you elected to all kinds of offices.

Credit real Lakers fans who showed up to help fix this.

AP Source: Thunder trading Dakari Johnson to Orlando

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OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — The Oklahoma City Thunder are trading reserve center Dakari Johnson to the Orlando Magic.

A person with knowledge of the details confirmed the move to The Associated Press on Friday. The person spoke on the condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to discuss the situation publicly.

Yahoo Sports, which first reported the deal, said Oklahoma City will get guard Rodney Purvis in the deal. Purvis averaged 6.0 points and 1.7 rebounds in 16 appearances for the Magic last season. The Orlando Sentinel said the Thunder also sent cash to the Magic.

Johnson played 31 games last season for the Thunder with six starts. He averaged 1.8 points and 1.1 rebounds per game. The 7-footer averaged 23.3 points and 10.3 rebounds in 10 games for the Oklahoma City Blue, the Thunder’s G-League affiliate, last season.

Center Alex Len reportedly reaches contract deal with Atlanta

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Five years ago, the Phoenix Suns had just drafted Alex Len at No. 5 overall and thought he would be the big man in the middle the team would build around. It didn’t work out that way, he never averaged double figures in either scoring or rebounding for a season. While Len has said he thought he was not used correctly, and there has been plenty of change and inconsistency in Phoenix, he never grabbed hold of the top job, either.

When the Suns drafted Deandre Ayton No. 1 last June, there was no chance they were bringing back Len next season. The unrestricted free agent is headed to Atlanta instead, reports Shams Charania of The Vertical at Yahoo Sports.

Free-agent center Alex Len has agreed to a two-year, $8.5 million deal with the Atlanta Hawks, league sources told Yahoo Sports.

Len received interest from several teams in recent days before finalizing an agreement with the Hawks on Saturday.

Len is not going to space the floor, 73 percent of his shots came at the rim last season, but he’s become an efficient finisher there. He is good as a roll man, will work off the ball, and can post guys up on offense. He’s also strong on the offensive glass and gets points via putbacks. His game is not that of a modern NBA center, but he’s become efficient at what he does.

Len is going to have to earn his minutes in the ATL, rebuilding team or not there is some quality along the front line. John Collins, who made the All-Rookie team last season and was one of the standouts of Summer League, will start up front, possibly at the four with Dewayne Dedmon at the five. The just-drafted Omari Spellman showed potential at Summer League and could be the backup four, which means Len gets the backup center minutes.

Len is getting his new chance on a team that can give him some run, we’ll see if a change of scenery is what he needed.

Gordon Hayward posts new workout video, he is moving pretty well

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Player workout videos on Instagram are a lot like how your life (or, your parent’s life) appears on Facebook — everyone looks their best, is always having fun and doing something interesting, and the daily grime of life has been scrubbed away.

That said, Boston’s Gordon Hayward looks good — he seems to be moving very well — in this latest workout video he posted.

It’s a good sign to see Hayward moving like that in July, months before that reconstructed ankle needs to be put to the test on the NBA hardwood.

With Hayward and Kyrie Irving healthy, the Celtics start the season as the favorites in the East — but Toronto is a sudden, serious challenger if Kawhi Leonard is all the way back and healthy. Philadelphia is talented and in that mix as well if Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons can take strides forward with their game.

The top of the East is going to be very interesting next season.